Updated February 2022
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Buying guide for best bamboo toothbrushes

More and more, consumers seek sustainability in the products they buy and consider the environmental impact of the purchases they make. Toothbrushes are no exception. As toothbrushes are recommended to be renewed every three to four months, that amount of waste can pile up. The bamboo toothbrush is a trending option for those who seek a more sustainable, eco-friendly alternative to the traditional plastic toothbrush.

Bamboo is an environmentally friendly and sustainable material. It is naturally grown, easily harvested, and quickly replenished. It does not require fertilizer to grow, and it regenerates on its own. What’s more, it is highly durable with an impressive strength-to-weight ratio that is better than brick, wood, and concrete.

It’s because of this that bamboo is a popular material for toothbrushes. Due to high consumer curiosity and increasing demand, companies big and small are vying for your business. As toothbrushes are relatively simple constructs, it’s the subtle difference that will determine which one is best for you. We’re here to help you get to the root of bamboo toothbrushes.

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Bamboo toothbrushes are riding the wave of eco-friendly products, but they’ve been around for centuries. They were first used in ancient China at the end of the fifteenth century, with boar hair attached to a piece of bamboo or bone.

Key considerations


Nylon is the most common material used to make toothbrush bristles, and bamboo toothbrushes are no exception. The bristles may be softer for those with more sensitive gums, or they may be coarse. Nylon bristles are not biodegradable.

A less-common alternative to nylon bristles is boar hair. It is biodegradable, but it is rougher than nylon bristles, and it may hurt your enamel or gums if you brush aggressively. Plant-based bristles made from corn and tapioca are rare but not impossible to find.


Bamboo toothbrushes are as durable as plastic ones, but they require a little bit more care to maintain longevity. Store your bamboo toothbrush in a dry place where it won’t get accidentally wet and stay wet. It also helps to lightly towel off the brush after you use it.

Number of brushes

As most bamboo toothbrushes are not sold individually, it’s worthwhile to assess how frequently you replace your toothbrushes. A pack of four should last one person a year, though depending on your brushing habits, four toothbrushes may last as little as eight months or as long as 16 months. If you’re buying for a household, some simple math can help determine how many bamboo toothbrushes you should purchase at a time.


Bamboo toothbrushes require the user to take proper steps to make the most of the product in terms of sustainability. When the toothbrush is no longer viable, it needs to be composted, recycled, or repurposed. Throwing it in the trash means the bamboo’s main feature, sustainability, is wasted. If the bristles are nylon, they need to be removed prior to disposal, which can be done easily with a pair of pliers.

Local waste laws

Not every community has the same rules and regulations when it comes to recycling, composting, and the disposal of trash. Some municipalities don’t offer compost pickup, placing the onus on the individual or household to create one. Some bamboo toothbrushes come in packaging that contains cellophane, which is biodegradable. However, there exist recycling programs that aren’t sophisticated enough to differentiate between cellophane and plastic, making the recycling process irrelevant.

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Did you know?
The largest market for plastics is the packaging market, which now counts for almost half of all plastic waste in the world.


Charcoal-infused bristles

Charcoal is gaining popularity as a more natural and effective way to clean your teeth. Most notably, activated charcoal is purported to be a powerful absorber of tannins, such as those in red wine and cigarettes, that stain and yellow teeth. Charcoal is also said to be an effective deterrent of bad breath.

Biodegradable packaging

In keeping with the eco-friendly theme, many companies strive to create packaging that, like the toothbrush itself, is environmentally considerate. You can purchase your bamboo toothbrush in packaging that is made from recycled material and can be recycled or composted after purchase.

Plant-based manufacturing

The fact that something is advertised as eco-friendly doesn’t mean it is explicitly plant-based. If you want a vegan product, make sure it is specifically advertised as such, even though you can argue something should be vegan if it is eco-friendly. Regardless, for vegan consumers, some products will attest they are made with plant-based products.

Color, design, and labeling

Not everything about toothbrushes needs to be so serious. Some bamboo toothbrushes come labeled with numbers to help couples or families differentiate between them. Others offer colored bristles and ends for a little bit of liveliness in the bathroom. Because bamboo is easy to engrave, some products may have designs or simple pictures on them.

"Most toothbrushes are made with BPA-free nylon. BPA stands for bisphenol A, a divisive chemical that has restrictions in some countries but is approved as safe at low levels in the U.S."

Bamboo toothbrush prices

While most bamboo toothbrushes are relatively cheap, they are seldom sold individually. You can find a low price per toothbrush, usually less than $2 each, but you will likely have to buy at least four at a time. The quantity found in a package will be the main indicator of cost.

Inexpensive: For under $8, you should be able to get a decent pack of four bamboo toothbrushes from a variety of companies, including those offering biodegradable packaging and charcoal bristles. Toothbrushes last an average of three to four months, so one of these packs should last about a year.

Mid-range: For $8 to $20, you can get similar toothbrushes to those in the inexpensive range, but you will get more of them. You can find six, eight, or ten to a package, which is ideal when purchasing for a household.

Expensive: For $20 to $40, you can buy even larger packs of brushes, from 20 to 30. This is likely the most cost-effective option. Also in this price range are more elaborate sets that include bathroom accessories, such as floss or a travel case, or more detailed designs.

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Did you know?
While bamboo is mostly associated with being grown in China, other countries around the world have their own species. Japan, Korea, India, Australia, Chile, and Mexico are among those that boast their own bamboo population.


  • Check with your dentist. It doesn’t hurt to get an informed opinion on matters of the teeth. If you have sensitive gums, charcoal bristles may not be for you, as they tend to be rougher. A dentist can advise on the best options.
  • Get creative. “Reuse” is a key component of the three Rs of sustainability; it comes after “Reduce” and before “Recycle” in the hierarchy. When your bamboo toothbrush is no longer effective at brushing teeth, use it as a grout-cleaning tool, a garden label, or anything else you can think of.
  • Be wary of opportunistic advertising. While there are many quality products out there, the bounty of eco-friendly and so-called green items over the last decade also means that companies will try to profit off the appearance of being environmentally conscious without actually being significantly friendlier to the planet.
  • Watch out for buzzwords. Similarly, companies and influencers will throw around terms like natural, green, eco-friendly, and sustainable that imply a general meaning but aren’t specifically defined. Look for “plant-based” and “biodegradable” labels, as these terms have exact definitions.
  • Try it out. Due to their relatively low price, if you are on the fence about bamboo toothbrushes, it may be worth it to experience it firsthand. Some companies even offer a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied.
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While bamboo resembles wood, it is technically a member of the grass family. Bamboo is a flowering plant, but it does so infrequently and irregularly — sometimes at intervals of up to 100 years.


Q. How long does a bamboo toothbrush last?
Bamboo toothbrushes last as long as plastic ones. Some companies advertise the durability of their toothbrushes to be up to a year. However, while the handle may be long-lasting, the American Dental Association advises new bristles every three to four months to remain effective.

Q. Where are bamboo toothbrushes made?
The most common answer is China. Some bristles are made in the U.S. and then shipped to China to be attached to bamboo. It’s important to note that different countries have different rules regarding manufacturing. If you are concerned about sourcing, it’s worth researching further.

Q. What should I do with the nylon bristles once they are removed?
As nylon bristles cannot be composted or recycled, there isn’t much practical use for them. There may be a local establishment that will take them for reuse, but most likely they just go into the trash, unless you devise a creative purpose for them at home.

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